ISSN 1321-6260
June 2018 - Number 129

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NSW Government response to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The NSW Government response to the recommendations of the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is now available. The Government has endorsed the overwhelming majority of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission. All of the Commission’s recommendations relating to records and recordkeeping (recommendations 8.1 – 8.5) have been accepted or accepted in principle. NSW State Archives and Records will continue to work with relevant NSW agencies and the Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities (CAARA) to support implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.

A key recordkeeping recommendation of the Commission was that records relating to child sexual abuse that has occurred or is alleged to have occurred should be retained for at least 45 years. This is to allow for delayed disclosure by abuse victims. NSW State Archives and Records recently audited current retention and disposal authorities to identify any authorities that may require review or amendment to ensure this minimum retention requirement is met. We will liaise with relevant agencies regarding any proposed amendments or updates to their functional authority identified by the audit.

In the interim, NSW public offices likely to be maintaining records relevant to the provision of care and services to children need to continue to be mindful and observant of the recommendations of the Royal Commission when undertaking records disposal activities.

The NSW Government has also announced it will opt in to the National Redress Scheme and reforms to civil litigation law. Public offices should also ensure records of potential evidentiary value to victims pursuing civil compensation claims or claims under the redress scheme are appropriately identified and measures are in place to ensure records are retained for sufficient periods to enable any individual claims to be made and settled.

For more information see:

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Portfolio change for NSW State Archives and Records

From 1 July 2018, responsibility for administering the State Records Act 1998, and for the State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales, will transfer from the Minister for Finance, Services and Property, the Hon. Victor Dominello, to the Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Don Harwin. NSW State Archives and Records will transfer from the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation to join the Arts, Screen and Culture Division of the Department of Planning and Environment. 

Along with the portfolio change, a full statutory review of the State Records Act and associated standards and guidelines will commence later this year.

Positioning NSW State Archives and Records within the Arts portfolio reflects its important contribution to the historical and cultural fabric of NSW, and recognises the many synergies and shared challenges across the cultural institutions such as programming, conservation, storage, digitisation and public access.

NSW State Archives and Records will report through the Deputy Secretary, Arts, Screen and Culture Division, Ms Alex O’Mara, who also oversees the State’s arts policy functions and cultural infrastructure. For the Government Recordkeeping team it is business as usual.

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New code of best practice issued

AS ISO 15489.1: 2017 Information and documentation – Records management, Part 1: Concepts and principles has been issued as the new code of best practice for records management.

This new Australian standard is a concise, contemporary representation of recordkeeping practice, with an emphasis on the digital environment. It defines the concepts and principles to be used in developing approaches to the creation, capture and management of records to meet compliance, business and societal requirements. It applies to all records, regardless of format, business or technological environment. The Australian standard is ‘digital-ready’ and can be used to guide flexible approaches to implementing records management tools and techniques in dynamically and technologically changing environments. It also represents national and international best practice.

This new code of best practice will assist your organisation in meeting the requirements of the Standard on records management, and Parts 2 and 3 of the State Records Act 1998.

Please note that AS ISO 15489.1 – 2002: Records Management Part 1: General and AS ISO 15489.2 – 2002: Records Management Part 2: Guidelines have been revoked as a code of best practice and are no longer a requirement under section 13 of the State Records Act.  This older standard should not be used as a benchmark for records management.

Due to Standards Australia’s strict copyright requirements, we are unable to make copies of AS ISO 15489.1:2017 available via our website. Copies of the Standard can be purchased from Standards Australia.  Alternatively, hardcopies are available for viewing in the Reading Room of the Western Sydney Records Centre (161 O’Connell Street, Kingswood) and at our Queens Square Office (1 Prince Albert Road, Queens Square, Sydney).

Further information on the code of best practice and implementing the code into your organisation’s records management program is available from our website. Any enquiries about the new code of best practice should be sent to or telephone Government Recordkeeping on (02) 9714 3080.

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Blaze: Working Women, Public Leaders

NSW State Archives’ latest exhibition was launched by the Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian MP, on 23 April at the Whitlam Institute, Western Sydney University. The exhibition engages with the finding that a significant leadership gap continues to exist between women and men in public life. Through its thoughtfully curated study of a selection of women working in different policy fields from the 1860s to the present, Blaze sheds insights into the challenges and opportunities that women have faced building professional careers in the NSW public sphere. For more information, visit the Blaze e-catalogue.

Image caption: Contemporary women leaders featured in Blaze: Working Women, Public Leaders, photographer Sally Tsoutas, courtesy Western Sydney University
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Recent Future Proof blogposts

NSW State Archives and Records uses its Future Proof blog to post information about current digital recordkeeping issues. On the blog we road-test new ideas, distribute new information and initiate discussion on digital recordkeeping issues. Recent posts include:

  • So you've got a job in Records...
  • NSW Information Commissioner and Open Data Advocate launches NEW Open Data e-learning module
  • Recordkeeping FAQs – Do the European Union’s new privacy laws apply to NSW public offices?
  • Welcome to the Information Awareness Month 2018
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Developing or reviewing a functional retention and disposal authority

Are you planning to develop a new, or review the current, functional retention and disposal authorisation for your agency within the next 12 months? If you are, we would like to hear from you.

Developing and reviewing a functional authority can be a resource intensive process, for agencies and for NSW State Archives and Records. Prior knowledge of upcoming agency projects enables us to better plan for and provide advice and assistance with agency projects as required. Before you commence or initiate work on developing or reviewing your functional authority please contact us to discuss the project. We can advise on requirements, options and preferred approaches to managing the process and expected timeframes. Please call (02) 9714 3080 or email

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